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How to get up to $1,000 from the B.C. government: Answers about new COVID-19 benefit

Last Updated Dec 18, 2020 at 4:24 pm PDT

(PHOTO: Tom Ross - 660 NEWS)
Summary

Families with 2019 incomes of $125,000 or less are eligible for $1,000

Individuals with 2019 incomes of $62,500 or less are eligible for $500

You can apply in-person, by phone or online (when the website is back up)

The province opened applications for the BC Recovery Benefit on Friday – but the online applications website crashed under the “extremely high volume” of people trying to apply.

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But once the site is back up, do you know if you’re eligible to apply for up to $1,000?

The answers to some questions about the benefit are below. If you’re still confused, send us your question on Twitter or by emailing kelvin.gawley@rci.rogers.com.

What is the BC Recovery Benefit?

Premier John Horgan first promised the benefit during the fall provincial election. It is a one-time payment of up to $500 for individuals and $1,000 for families.

Am I eligible?

Criteria for individuals and families:

All applicants must live in B.C. and be at least 19 years old as of Dec. 18.

You also need to have filed a tax return for 2019. If you haven’t yet filed for 2019, you can still do so and then apply for the benefit.

You will also need to provide one of the following:

  • Social insurance number
  • Individual tax number
  • Temporary tax number

The province says it will claw back any payments made to people who are later determined to be ineligible.

People who receive income and disability assistance from the province are eligible.

Families and single parents:

If you’re applying for your family, both you and your spouse or common law partner must meet all of the above criteria.

Families that had a net household income of $125,000 or less in 2019 are eligible for the full $1,000. Households that brought in between $125,000 and $175,000 are eligible for a “reduced benefit.” The same criteria are in place for single parents, which the province defines as “an individual who is the principal caregiver to at least one child.”

If you have a spouse or common law partner who doesn’t live in B.C., the province says you have to apply for the individual benefit. The same goes if you have been living apart from your partner for at least 90 days “because of a breakdown in the relationship and you have not reconciled.” This includes separated parents who share custody of children.

If your spouse or common-law partner dies on Dec. 18 or later, you can still apply for the family benefit.

Individuals:

You must meet all of the criteria in the section above.

If you made $62,500 or less in 2019, you’re eligible for a $500 check. If you made between $62,500 and $87,500 you’re eligible for a “reduced benefit” – the province hasn’t said how much that will be.

If you haven’t filed a 2019 tax return or don’t have a bank account, the province says you will be able to apply using a “modified application” that it will make available in the new year.

How do I apply?

Applications will be open starting Friday, Dec. 18 until June 30.

You will need to provide:

  • Your net income from your 2019 tax return. This number can be found on Line 23600 of your 2019 income tax return
  • Your social insurance number
  • Your driver’s licence number if you have one (you can still apply if you don’t have a licence)
  • Direct deposit information from your Canadian bank or credit union: branch/transit number, institution number, account number

There are three ways to apply:

  • In-person at a Service BC office. Find locations and hours here.
  • By phone, starting Dec. 21. (The province has yet to share the phone number)
  • Online. The province says this is the fastest option and takes about 15 minutes. As of the afternoon of Dec. 18, the application site was still down.